Essentrics Stretch Series Vol 1 contains three 30 minute workouts. Just like all Classical Stretch/Essentrics workouts you are moving constantly. They are dynamic flexibility/mobility workouts. The moves change in some fashion any time you repeat it and there are many components to each move. Because of this, it is much to difficult to break these workouts down move by move as I do in other workouts, so I won’t. I will give generic summaries of what each workout contains and give my thoughts on each workout after doing it. These were my first Essentrics workouts done by an instructor other than Miranda Esmonde-White, the creator of Classical Stretch/Essentrics. Having done Classical Stretch Season 8 and I am currently working my through Season 12, I recognize all of the moves. It is different though to have them delivered without Miranda’s quirky personality. I did like all of these trainers and they all did a good job, but they aren’t Miranda.
Tension Release is 31 minutes and is led by Meg Feeny. Equipment: chair. This was a nice workout. There is some deep stretching but just like any Classical Stretch workout I’ve ever done you do not actually hold any of the stretches–you move in and out of them. The pace of this is very slow and Meg hits every muscle and joint in your body at some point. This workout starts with slow dynamic flexibility. The emphasis shifts to the lower body, in side lunge stretch variations but still using the upper body. The focus returns to dynamic flexibility/mobility of the upper body. You move back to the lower body with plie squat variations. Get a chair. Hold chair back while you do barre squat stretches for your feet, ankles and calves. Next you move up to dynamic calf stretches that incorporate the upper body in some of the moves. Place your foot on your chair for some more dynamic stretching of the lower body. This is a long segment as Meg works her way through all of the muscle groups in your lower body. She also works in some upper body mobility/dynamic flexibility. It ends with dynamic spine stretching using the chair.
Joint Pain Relief is 30 minutes and is led by Gail Garceau. Equipment: chair. This was another nice dynamic flexibility and mobility workout. I felt Gail focused a lot on the lower body, which is fine. She hit the spine and upper body, too, but the lower body got the most attention. There are a few moves in this workout that felt really good for my healing shoulder. I really enjoyed this workout and felt nicely stretched out at the end. The workout as a whole was gentle and done to a slow relaxed pace. The workout begins with slow side to side lunges to warm up the lower body then you add upper body mobility/dynamic stretches to the lunges. The focus moves to primarily upper body and spine mobility/dynamic stretching. Then focus returns to the lower body; you lower into a wide plie squat then side lunges that include the upper body. Return to the wide slow plie squats. She adds heel raises and pivots into traditional lunges. Next you move back to the upper body for more mobility/dynamic flexibility. Next is total body mobility/flexibility exercises. Get the chair. You use the chair for stretches that focus on the lower body. She works her way through each muscle group starting with the back of leg then the hips, then the glutes. You return to the hips and this time upper body mobility/flexibility is included. The workout ends with more work for the spine.
Full Body Deep Stretch is 33 minutes and is led by Amanda Cyr. Equipment: fitness mat and flat yoga block. This was definitely the most advanced and challenging of the 3 workouts. I would categorize this one as a dynamic strength and flexibility workout. Amanda did stretch you out but she also worked the muscles. She took every muscle group and joint through full ranges of motion. I was challenged and during the standing part of this workout I even started perspiring! Once you move to the mat it is gentler but still does a great job working your muscles and joints deeply. You get mobility, flexibility and strength in this workout. And though, like all Classical Stretch/Essentrics workouts, you are pretty much in constant controlled motion, Amanda does have you hold a few of the stretches briefly. This workout begins with some deep mobility/flexibility work focusing on the arms, shoulders and spine. Continue this deep mobility work but now the lower body is included in the exercises. Next you focus on the lower body with slow side to side deep lunges. Add upper body mobility/flexibility to the lunges. The exercises becomes very flowing deep full body mobility flexibility work. The focus moves back to the lower body with dynamic flexibility work. Continue you lower body moves but add arm and spine mobility/flexibility. Next you do wide plie squats. Add upper body dynamic stretching. While remaining in wide plie squat, you work your toes and feet, then she moves back up to hips and legs. Return to the upper body for more dynamic flexibility. Continue with the upper body but the moves become full body again, working the spine and lower body. Lay on your back on your fitness mat and begin doing lower body dynamic flexibility/mobility exercises. Next you will lay on your side and continue working the lower body with flexibility/mobility exercises. Sit up and the mobility/flexibility exercises become full body again. Sit on your yoga block with your legs extended for forward fold variations working your entire body. This workout ends sitting cross-leg and doing dynamic stretches for the neck and shoulders.